Just once I’d like to have a perfect day playing music. Today started out pretty well. I managed to get 5 hours sleep after finishing work at 6am, and made it to sound check on time despite leaving the house behind schedule. After a great sound check, I took a stroll around Machida. It’s a really a nice town, and the weather was perfect. There was a cool vintage guitar shop just around the corner from the livehouse. I went in and asked if they had a truss rod key for my guitar. The guy behind the workbench just gave it to me, saying if it fits then keep it. Another excellent shop had the power cable I needed to connect my power supply to my compressor. On my way back, I stopped for ramen which was excellent.
At the gig, I was really enjoying hearing the other acts at the livehouse before it was our turn to go on, but that’s when the trouble started. I noticed that I suddenly wasn’t enjoying the music, and grew increasingly nervous about my own so I heading to the dressing room to practice. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t happening. I was distracted by all the people rushing in and out. Then when it was time to play, I forgot my sheet music. Fortunately, I was able to recall most of the changes from memory. My playing and singing were basically good, and my tone and solos were better than usually. That made the problems that much more frustrating because this time it was so close to being perfect. I almost kicked ass, but it felt more like my shoe brushing against the pants and sliding up into the air as I fell on mine.
The most disturbing point of the evening was watching some talented kids play some incredible music, and suddenly feeling immature for being there instead of with my family or at work, then feeling pathetic for not really having my shit together here or either of those places. Because I knew I hadn’t practiced as much as these kids, or felt as much passion for my music now that I’m older. I also thought I knew how much money was in my wallet. When I looked inside, I immediately assumed theft because I left it in my jacket on a hanger in the dressing room. I spent the ride home angry about it until I realized I had actually withdrawn half as much as I thought on my last stop at an ATM.
Upon realizing that my money had not been stolen or short changed by the second music store’s cashier, I felt relived but concerned by my mind’s inability to recall recent events to help process more current ones. At least my mind is starting to developing the ability to monitor my emotional state and correlate it with external influences, namely not eating anything in a 12 hours period besides a 3 pieces of day old sushi, half a piece of grilled salmon, two mouthfuls of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, a can of Redbull, a bottle of water and a bowl of Oyaji Ramen. And at least those monitored emotional states are of a mature adult.
For my gig tomorrow, I must have dropped more than $100 on gear. Most of it was for accessories like strings, connectors, cables, a power supply and a soft carrying case for my stomp boxes . Today I went just a bit overboard and got a used Guyatone Wah Rocker. I’ve wanted one of these ever since I went into a studio to test the Robot Factory Meatwad. There was a WR-2 sitting on a rack just outside the entrance to the studio. So I grabbed it, plugged in and really enjoyed myself. It sounds almost as good as the Meatwad, but only has two knobs. Fortunately, it sounds nearly perfect — responsive, slow-sweeping, thick and balanced. My only complaint is that the bass can get to be too much when the filter sweeps the bottom. I justify this expense because it takes up less space on my new pedalboard, and less time to tweak. All of my recent purchases do this really. It’s not as exciting
For my gig with the gay-band next Wednesday, I wanted to put some round-wound strings on my guitar, for a brighter tone. The flat-wounds don’t really seem to cut through the mix. As always, I’m very particular about the gauge and brand I use. The closest shop to me didn’t have exactly what I was looking for, so I tried set of Galli Strings (.11-.14-.18-.28-.38-.49). They are actually very nice — very pliant with a mellow sound, and came with a free pick! You would never guess that they were coated with polyurethane like Elixir or Wyres strings. Unfortunately, they are just too thin to get a good sound out of the GB-10, even with the tailpiece tightened all the way.
That didn’t stop me from enjoying myself for a bit, though. To test the strings, I played a major scale on each string. This turned out to be a great exercise for moving my left hand horizontally across the fret board, visualizing the construction of the scale. These are two areas where I’m really weak.
Then I came up with a cool chord progression: |E7(#9)-Eb7(#9)-DM7-C#m7-Cm7b5(11)|
The Eb7(#9) can be substituted with an Em7b5 chord. More and more I notice how these two altered sounds are interchangeable, even though their function in a standard progression is different. (A minor 7th flat-five is usually a ii chord, and the dominant sharp-nine is usually a five.)